The debate over deodorant and it’s links to cancer are just about as murky and contentious as the climate change issue. As yet “no conclusive research linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer” (see studies here and here). BUT do we really need to a scientific nod of approval to be concerned or should we occasionally just employ some good ol’ common sense?
Here is what we do know…
The active ingredient in deodorant (unless otherwise stated) is aluminium and they can also contain parabens.
- Scientists have found that the aluminium content of breast tissue was significantly higher in the outer regions of the breast, in close proximity to the area where there would be the highest density of antiperspirant. A disproportionate amount of tumours occur in the upper outer quadrant of the breast which seems to support that this could be linked to aluminium-based antiperspirants. (read more)
- Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds may be absorbed through the skin and cause estrogen (hormonal) effects (that research is in here). Estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells.
- A 2004 study found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumours (see here). These findings are not uncommon as you can see from this study or this one or this one!
So (for me) even though there is no categorical proof, I just don’t like the thought of rubbing aluminium, parabens and god knows whatever other chemicals in a sensitive region near my breasts and lymph nodes. I also don’t like the thought of a chemical blocking my pores especially when those pores are trying to excrete natural toxins from my body.
An Easy Solution
Room for argument? Maybe. But lets not forget that cigarettes were once marketed as the ‘perfect cure for a sore throat’. So if I can eliminate any risk whatsoever I am going to; which is why I love making my own deodorant! It is so simple, so cheap and bloody effective!!! With 3 ingredients (that are probably already in your cupboard) you can make a deodorant that will last all day, comes free of wasteful packaging, is super cheap and has no harmful chemicals in it. Here’s how…
- Bicarb Soda (aka Baking Soda)
- Coconut Oil
- OPTIONAL – Essential Oil. I use Lavender and Lemon before!
Mix equal amounts of cornflour and bicarb soda. Maybe start with 1/4Cup each.
Add 2-3 Tablespoons coconut oil to start with and mix the ingredients until you get the right consistency. You want it to be a malleable paste . Get your Goldilocks on – it shouldn’t be too wet or dry! (if your coconut oil is too solid, warm it slightly until it is gooier).
It is really hard to show consistency in a photo (especially when your camera is broken) but this is the level of ‘moosh’ you are after…
If you want, add some smelly essential oils to get a more fragrant deo. I added a few drops of Lavender Oil to mine because I love it but even by itself the deodorant smells like coconut which is pretty yummy anyway!
NOTE: If you are pregnant some essential oils should not be used. For a full list see here.
How To Store
I store our deodorant in an old beauty container but you can use a jar or any thing with a lid really. Alternately, you could save your own deodorant container if you’ve got a wind-on one and pack your deodorant into there! Reuse is better than recycle after all.
I keep mine in my bathroom and it stays at a good consistency. That being said, coconut oil melts really quickly in warmer temperatures so if your bathroom heats up you may want to keep it in the fridge. That could actually be really soothing to apply in a hot summer!
If your deodorant gets too solid, place some warm water in a bowl and then put your container into the water for a few minutes. As I’ve just mentioned the coconut oil will react quickly and become soft and malleable.
Expiry - this stuff doesn’t go off. Use it as long as you’d like.
How To Apply
Scrape off some of the mix (I use my fingers but you can use a spoon or knife or whatever) and apply to your underarms with your fingertips. It may look powdery or seem like it would be sticky but once you massage it into your pits it is surprisingly dry and fresh feeling.
My husband and I have been using this since the Less Is More Festival back in February – so it has been tried and tested on an Australian summer – and amazingly it works! Actually, more than just ‘working’ it is the most effective deo either of us have ever used. It is not a antiperspirant but it 100% stops any odour. Neither of us have even had to reapply throughout the day! Other than my Raw Chocolate (see that here) this is my absolute favourite DIY discovery – 10 out of 10 Olives!!!
If you get a taste for DIY beauty products you may also like these recipes that I have blogged about before…
- Coconut and Cucumber Facial Cleanser
- DIY Toothpaste
- Herbal Facial Toner
- Simple Avocado Hair Mask (deep conditioning)
Enjoy – and let me know how you go in the Comments!